The Ducks took the first step Friday toward re-signing popular forward Teemu Selanne, trading defenseman Mathieu Schneider to the Atlanta Thrashers for defenseman Ken Klee and left wingers Brad Larsen and Chad Painchaud.
The trade, which will become official when Schneider passes a physical this weekend, will save the Ducks approximately $3.8 million and drop them about $1.4 million under the $56.7-million salary cap.
Selanne made a base salary of $3.5 million in 2006 and a pro-rated $1.5 million last season, when he rejoined the team in January.
"We're not done yet," Ducks General Manager Brian Burke said. "The first priority was get under the cap, solve Mathieu's situation and get some focus back in training camp."
Carving out additional room under the salary cap to sign the 38-year-old Selanne could happen two ways, Burke said -- trading additional players or sending them down to the minors, whether they're on a one-way contract or two-way.
If a player on a one-way contract is sent to the minors and claimed off waivers by another team, the Ducks would be freed of his salary. If he clears waivers and is returned to the organization, they would be required to pay only half his salary should he be called back up to Anaheim. Players on two-way contracts automatically receive less money if optioned to the minors.
"We've got a multitude of options here," Burke said.
One player who was discussed in trade talks and who might still play a part in creating additional cap space is forward Bobby Ryan, the Ducks' No. 2 overall draft pick in 2005.
With performance bonuses, Ryan could make as much as $1.8 million this season, Burke said.
Ryan, who is on a two-way contract that does not require waivers, could be returned to the minors and the Ducks would shed his salary. Ryan, however, is making that increasingly difficult. He showed up to camp in much better shape this season and had two goals and an assist in the team's opening exhibition game Wednesday.
Andrew Ebbett and George Parros scored for the Ducks in a 5-2 exhibition loss at San Jose.